Lushan, in northern Jiangxi Province, is a famous mountain with a long
history and rich culture. It is mentioned in Records of the Historian,
written by Sima Qian over 2,000 years ago, during the Han Dynasty (206
B.C. - 220 A.D.). To the north is the Changjiang (Yangtze) River, and
to the south, Poyang Lake. The mountain covers an area of more than 300
square kilometers between two geological faults.
Mt. Lushan combines beauty with magnificence and danger. High peaks and
dangerously steep cliffs on all sides surround a relatively gentle center.
Dahanyang Peak, the summit of the mountain, rises 1,474 meters above sea
level. There are 171 other famous peaks, including Shangxiao (Up to the
Sky), Hanpoling (Containing Poyang Lake), Shuangjian (Double Swords),
Jiudieping (Nine-Layer Screen), Litoujian (Ploughshare), and Haohan (Brave
Some of the peaks look like familiar objects, some stand magnificently,
and some are enshrouded in mist and clouds. In the valley are streams
and waterfalls, including Kaixian, Sandiequan, and Shimenjian Waterfalls.
Mt. Lushan has abundant rainfall, and the Changjiang River and Poyang
Lake provide cool summer weather. On an average, the mountain is covered
with mist and clouds 191 days a year. Especially, when spring turns into
summer, the mist and clouds mask the true shapes of the peaks.
Mt. Lushan was a favorite place for diviners in ancient times, it is also
known as the Paradise of Lushan. After the rise of Taoism and, later,
the introduction of Buddhism from India, many Taoist priests and Buddhist
monks came here to disseminate their doctrines and draw followers. In
the 800 years from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420) through the Northern
Song Dynasty (960-1127), Mt. Lushan was an important religious shrine,
and temples and monasteries were scattered around the mountain. A celebrated
monk named Hui Yuan (334-416) established the Donglin Temple on the mountain
to paraphrase Buddhist canons. He also created a Buddhist philosophical
school integrating Chinese culture and widely disseminated it around China.
Many noted poets and literary men of the past, including Tao Yuanming,
Li Bai, Bai Juyi, Su Shi, and Lu You, visited Mt. Lushan and composed
more than 4,000 works of poetry and prose in its honor. Some scholars
withdrew from society and lived in solitude on the mountain. The Bailudong
(White Deer Cave) Academy, well preserved today, was the place where Li
Bo (773-831), a famous scholar of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), studied
and lived. The academy was developed by Zhu Xi (1130-1200), a scholar
of Neo-Confucianism during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and enjoyed fame
as an important educational center for feudal Chinese culture for several
1885, the 11th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty
(1644-1911), priests and businessmen from over 20 foreign countries, including
Russia, Britain, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan
along with Chinese high officials and noble lords began building private
mansions and villas on Mt. Lushan. Within less than half a century, more
than 1,000 houses and villas, in different styles, rose one after another.
Besides the villas, there are also Roman and Gothic churches, Byzantine
and Japanese structures, and Islamic mosques, all contributing to the
The beautiful natural scenery and rich culture give Mt. Lushan a distinctive
charm. In 1996, the World Heritage Commission of the United Nations Educational,
scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the mountain to
be of high cultural value because the historical relics on Mt. Lushan
integrate themselves into the natural scenery in a unique way and form
landscapes of great beauty, embodying the spirit and culture of China.